Monday, July 29, 2013

Support Your Local Black Felon (Fruitvale Station): Oscar Grant (=Trayvon Martin) was Just "an Average Brother"—"a Great Father" Who Made His Bed Mornings… and a Violent, Drug-Dealing Felon who Couldn't be Bothered to Get to a Legal Job on Time, and Threatened to Harm His Ex-Boss (Oh, and a Rioter, Too)





Above, below, gang-banger murals dedicated to Oscar Grant






BART Officer Mehserle, in uniform


Johannes Mehserle, in court




Re-posted, with a running translation, by Nicholas Stix
Corrected at 11:40 a.m., on Wednesday, July 31, 2013


Thanks to reader-researcher "W," who writes,


I doubt we will see Hollywood's take on the Knoxville and similar horrors.


Disappointed! I am so disappointed in AP race and ethnicity reporter Jesse Washington. I have long had a soft spot for him (and thus go easy on him in my following translation), because he graciously granted me an interview in early 2009, but the Trayvon Martin case has clearly had an extremely negative impact on him. Now, he tells whites that the typical black male ("average brother") is a violent felon, yet that we should like and respect black men for that.


Washington clearly doesn't realize (or doesn't care about) the import of his words on non-black ears. He describes the late Oscar Grant as a violent felon, yet wants non-blacks to be kindly disposed toward him. That's not going to happen, except among white racists like Tim Wise, who are already kindly disposed towards all black felons. And as Washington eventually makes explicit, Oscar Grant = Trayvon Martin.


When whites think of the "average brother" as a violent felon, it's racist, but when blacks think the same way, it's righteous. Got it?


In the wee hours of New Year's Day, 2009, Oscar Grant participated in a riot on a subway train in Oakland. Someone called the police, who handcuffed Grant. [Correction: This was one of the many lies of commission and omission that the media promoted after the shooting. Grant was never handcuffed. I thank the reader who brought this essential fact to my attention. Even I had fallen for the hoax script.] The cops had placed Grant on his belly on the subway platform, but he continued to resist arrest, and so Officer Johannes Mehserle reached for his TASER, and fired it into Grant's back—except that he had reached for the wrong weapon, and instead shot Grant dead with his service weapon!


Everardo Torres



Grant supporters will insist that this was impossible. After all, the TASER and pistol are holstered on opposite sides. Tell that to Officer Marcie (also spelled Marcy) Noriega, of the Madera, CA, PD. On October 27, 2002, she shot and killed Everardo Torres, 24, when she thought she was firing her TASER. Of course, she too was vilified in the media, riots raged, and she was charged and convicted of murder… well, not exactly. She was not vilified, there were no riots, and she was not charged, or even disciplined. Why the disparate results? Marcey Noriega was Hispanic, while Johannes Mehserle was white. Period.




Oscar Grant and an unidentified child




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AP Essay: Black male humanity shown in 'Fruitvale'

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July 28, 3:37 PM (ET)

By Jesse Washington

(AP) This publicity photo released by The Weinstein Company shows, from left, Michael James, Michael B....
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Oscar Grant did not deserve to die. [He means either that Trayvon Martin did not deserve to die, or that no black felon deserves to die, no matter what he is doing, at the hands of someone white or white-enough.]  

This is the central message of "Fruitvale Station," a film dramatizing the real-life case of the young unarmed black man shot in the back by a white police officer in 2009. It's a common message, often heard in film and life in general. But the way writer/director Ryan Coogler delivers this message is extraordinary.

As portrayed by Michael B. Jordan (beware of plot spoilers ahead) Grant is a great father - and a convicted felon. He loves his girlfriend - and he cheats on her. He wants to hold down a legal job - and he can't make it to work on time. He's a drug dealer who takes time to make his bed in the morning, a hardened convict and a mama's boy - a thuggish angel.

By the time the credits roll, Oscar Grant has become one of the rarest artifacts in American culture: a three-dimensional portrait of a young black male - a human being.

Which raises the question: If Grant was a real person, what about all these other young black males rendered as cardboard cutouts by our merciless culture? What other humanity are we missing? [What "cardboard cutouts"? The idealized black fathers in a 1,000 TV commercials, shows, and movies? The "magical negro" or "numinous negro" phenomenon? Sidney Poitier? Morgan Freeman? The racial profiling hoax? The Trayvon Martin Hoax? Washington is writing fiction, not journalism.]

"Everyone either made Oscar out to be a saint, depending on whatever their political agenda was, and on the other side they made him out to be this villain," Coogler said in an interview.

[Who made him out to be a villain? I never saw or heard those reports. Links, cites, please.]

"Everything he had ever done wrong in his life was magnified," Coogler said. "He was just a criminal, a thug, a drug dealer, and he deserved what he got. You live that type of lifestyle, you get what you deserve. His humanity was lost."

[Coogler's a liar.]

Grant was 22 years old in the early hours of New Year's Day, returning home to Oakland with his girl and other friends. In the film, a fight [N.S.: translation: riot; had it been a mere "fight," no one would have bothered to call the cops] starts on the train when Grant encounters an enemy from prison. Police detained Grant and his friends on the platform of the Fruitvale station.

["A fight starts"? Why the passive voice? A fight never "starts"; fights don't do that. Someone starts every fight. So, who was it? Grant, or the other guy? Who, what, where, when, how? And who was the other guy?]

The police are abusive; Grant and friends respond with belligerence. [The police were less than kind to rioters? Say it ain't so!] Grant is being held face down on the platform, unarmed and struggling [the legal term is "resisting arrest," which was not reported at the time; Grant was depicted as having submitted to police], when the officer shoots him once in the back. Numerous bystanders captured the scene on video.

[The police did not know that he was unarmed, and he refused to show his hands.]

That's the first scene of the film, using real video shot by bystanders. Then it jumps backwards one day to fill in the blanks of an average brother, to illustrate the mundane moments with family, friends and strangers that constitute real life.

When Grant's death hit the news, what much of the public saw was a convicted drug dealer [and gunslinger] who had been released from prison three months before his death. They saw a troublemaker who police said was resisting arrest [But Washington just admitted that he was!]. They didn't see everything else that's in "Fruitvale Station."

[Actually, no. I read the stories at the time, and they demonized the "racist" white cop who accidentally shot and killed Grant so much that the latter's name, Johannes Mehserle, was burned into my memory, and I didn't even have to google it for this blog item, whereas I couldn't even remember Oscar Grant's name. Initially, the MSM refused to report on his history of criminality, instead dwelling on his job as a butcher's apprentice.]

"If there's one thing missing in our country, it's an acknowledgment of the broad humanity of black folks," Ta-Nehisi Coates recently wrote on his blog at "Racism - and anti-black racism in particular - is the belief that there's something wrong with black people."

[No. There's nothing wrong with a group whose "average brother" is a convicted felon who continues engaging in crime. If that is "an acknowledgment of the broad humanity of black folks," then Washington and The Great Ta-Nehisi have no grounds for complaint. I can't believe Washington would quote Ta-Nehisi Coates as an expert on whites… or blacks… or anything else.]

The remedy: "Close the gap between what they see and who we really are," Coates wrote.

[If this description of Grant is supposed to be typical, then there is no gap!]

Asked what it felt like to close that gap, the actor Jordan said, "It felt real. It felt like I was telling a story for young African-American males who are stereotyped and judged before people get a chance to know them."

"We wanted to let people know who this guy was through the people who knew him the best," Jordan said. "Show the good, bad and the ugly. Flaws and all."

"Fruitvale Station" is not unprecedented. It's part of a recent wave of independent black films that are putting authentic black characters on more screens than ever.

This can make a difference in how black men are perceived in the real world, said black filmmaker Ava DuVernay.

"A more complex, truer, authentic, comprehensive, non-caricature view of any person, of any kind of person, helps us all to understand each other a little bit more," DuVernay said. "When you're only getting one dimension, unfortunately it does do its work, and that is mostly negative."

[Been there, done that. Joe Pesce's character in Casino was shown to be a loving father, but he was still a gangster. I doubt that he caused people to feel more kindly towards mafiosi.]

We have seen the complex depths of black manhood before, from actors such as Sidney Poitier and Denzel Washington, or television's "The Wire," or Kanye West's music catalog. Even major studios are presenting substantial black male roles this year with "12 Years a Slave" and "Lee Daniels' The Butler." (Although the roles are still, well, a slave and a butler.)

[Sidney Poitier did not "provide complex depths of black manhood"; he provided the "numinous Negro."]

Perhaps it's serendipity, then, that gives "Fruitvale Station" so much power: The film started trickling into theaters as the verdict was delivered in the Trayvon Martin case.

[The film was presumably slated for a July release, in order to foment summer black riots.]

The parallels are inescapable: two young black men shot dead, both unarmed, both with checkered pasts, both accused of being responsible for their own deaths.

[So, now we get to what this essay is really about: Trayvon Martin.]

"Often times people can deal with certain things happening to people when they don't see them as full human beings," Coogler said. "They're not real to you, you don't know them. What makes somebody a real person is those gray areas."

What were Trayvon Martin's gray areas? [I'm not aware of any; is Jesse Washington?] All many see is black and white.

"With 'Fruitvale' opening the weekend this verdict came down, it's one of these zeitgeist moments that can't be planned and can never be predicted," said DuVernay.

"In those moments, the power of film [visual propaganda] is so abundantly clear," she said. "These two lives, Oscar Grant and Trayvon Martin, really intersected in tragic and beautiful ways. One was made into a film that helps [black] folks process and understand the tragedy of another."

The tragedy that Trayvon Martin did not deserve to die.

[Oh, but he most certainly did.]


Jesse Washington covers race and ethnicity for The Associated Press. He is reachable at or jwashington(at)

NAACP Denounces Verdict of Oscar Grant Case


The NAACP opposes the jury's verdict of involuntary manslaughter regarding the 2009 New Year's Eve shooting of a 22 year old young man by BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) police officer in Oakland, CA.

While standing at a metro/BART stop on New Years' Eve 2009, 22-year old Oscar Grant was mercilessly shot in the back by BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) police officer Johannes Mehserle. Despite committing no crime nor carrying a weapon, Mehserle proceeded to shoot Grant in the back as he lay on the floor of the platform.

[He had just rioted, and the police had no way of knowing whether he had a weapon.]

The disaster was filmed by witnesses on cell phone cameras and later uploaded to YouTube, documenting the severity and the stark reality of police brutality in the United States.

"We are outraged that the jury did not find guilty of murder in a case that is so egregiously excessive and mishandled," said NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous. "The most tragic aspect of this case is that the cost of this police misconduct was a 22-year old father, son, and brother – an unarmed man killed because he allegedly scuffled on a train. The lack of accountability in law enforcement undermines the safety of the community and the integrity of law enforcement."

Police brutality is no new concept in California or in the African American community. The Department of Justice released a survey that says African Americans (4.4%) and Hispanics (2.3%) were more likely than whites (1.2%) to have experienced use of force by police and African American counted for 1 out of 10 cases with the police with 1 of 4 of those cases resulting in excessive force.

"The fact that justice was not upheld for the Grant family underscores a serious problem that needs to be addressed concerning the justice system and its devaluation of young African American males," said NAACP State Conference of California President Alice Huffman.

The NAACP is encouraging supporters of the Grant family to remain patient despite the unsatisfactory verdict. The NAACP National leadership and California State Conference have agreed to work diligently to hold law enforcement accountable for their actions, and pursue justice in instances of excessive police force.

"We will continue to work to ensure that justice is served for the Grant family, and these cases of police brutality as prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," said NAACP Oakland Branch President George Holland.

Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities, conducting voter mobilization and monitoring equal opportunity in the public and private sectors.

"Fruitvale Station" review: True story of Oscar Grant becomes powerful, heartbreaking cinema

Michael B. Jordan in "Fruitvale Station." (Courtesy photo)


By John Serba |
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on July 26, 2013 at 8:50 AM, updated July 26, 2013 at 9:14 AM

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'Fruitvale Station'

4 stars (out of 4)

MPAA Rating:

R for some violence, language throughout, and some drug use

Cast: Michael B. Jordan, Melonie Diaz, Octavia Spencer, Ariana Neal

Director: Ryan Coogler

Run time: 90 minutes

"Fruitvale Station" is about one bullet. We hear the shot in the film's opening moments, which consist of grainy, real-life cell-phone footage. It's one profoundly dull, muffled pop, and it's horrifying.

The film re-creates the final 24 hours in the life of Oscar Grant III, who was killed by that bullet, fired by a Bay Area Rapid Transit officer on New Year's Day, 2009. It entered Oscar's back as he was held to the ground, face down and handcuffed, by another officer. [He wasn't handcuffed; see previous correction under "handcuffed."] So many recent movies so cavalierly dispense thousands upon thousands of ammunition rounds, one can sometimes forget the effect that one small chunk of lead can have on human life.

I don't believe first-time writer/director Ryan Coogler intended "Fruitvale Station" to be a commentary on high-profile violent occurrences in America. It's hard not to feel echoes of Trayvon Martin's death, the shootings at the movie theater in Colorado and at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the string of events tied to the Boston bombings. Oscar's true story is similarly heartbreaking, and also grabbed significant headlines. Coogler's film is a simple character study, and a reminder that hope can vanish so quickly and tragically.

Although Coogler's screenplay clearly fictionalizes small elements of Oscar's life, he shows no interest in simplifying or sugarcoating his character. Michael B. Jordan, of TV's "The Wire" and "Parenthood," plays Oscar with deep sincerity, and the natural realism that may be unjustly ignored by Academy voters, who tend to prefer flashier performances. The 22-year-old Oscar is an ex-con prone to thuggish machismo and irresponsibility. He's also a loving son and father with a good heart and intentions. He spends his day taking his daughter Tatiana (Arian Neal) to school, fetching food and cards for his mother's (Octavia Spencer, strong in a small, but key role) birthday party, occasionally pausing for bouts of necessary self-reflection.

Octavia Spencer in "Fruitvale Station."


Oscar's relationship with Sophina (Melonie Diaz), his girlfriend and Tatiana's mother, is committed, if somewhat tenuous. He has cheated on her, and he refrains from telling her he lost his supermarket job weeks ago. But it's clear he loves her. He intends to sell a large bag of marijuana, and it's here that Coogler flashes back to his mother visiting him in prison, and administering wrenching, tough love. Around his mom and daughter, he's sweet, caring, upbeat. But he can immediately switch to a snarling, street-tough demeanor, the survivalist game face necessary for the darker vestiges of his life.

Dropping into his former workplace, Oscar begs his ex-boss for another job, and when denied, threatens him. It's more an act of sad desperation than intimidation. [No; it's an act of pure intimidation.] Stopped at a gas station, he pets a stray dog, which is subsequently hit by a car and left in the street to die. Visibly upset, he picks up the dog, and it dies in his arms. He comes home with the dog's blood on his T-shirt. Only little Tatiana asks him how it got there.

Coogler makes no commentary on Oscar's choices. He simply follows him along on tasks mundane and retroactively meaningful, the handheld camera tight on his person. The director examines Oscar's character and setting through exacting and authentic detail. The only time he goes wide with a shot is to show celebratory New Year's Eve fireworks over San Francisco, painfully ironic symbolism for exciting new beginnings.

"Fruitvale Station" can be grim and sobering in its climactic scenes, and although Coogler defangs them slightly with a postscript, his work here is powerful in its understatement. But I also remember the moments of joy the film captures – Oscar leading the occupants of a stalled train on a countdown to the new year, or how he playfully races Tatiana from her school to his car. The movie touches on guns, violence, racism, authority, poverty and the frailty of the human character and body. But it also reminds us to enjoy the small, happy moments in those moments.

Email: or follow John Serba on Twitter

Johannes Mehserle and Oscar Grant. Rioting Will Make it Better. Right?

Involuntary Manslaughter. Jury Gets it Right

Sherry Tomfeld

Yahoo! Contributor Network
Jul 9, 2010 "Share your voice on Yahoo! websites. Start Here."


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With video and eyewitnesses galore, the best that the prosecuting attorney could do is get Johannes Mehserle convicted of involuntary manslaughter of Oscar Grant. Why? Maybe it's because sometimes an accident is just an accident.

In the videos Johannes Mehserle looked as shocked as everyone else when the gun fired and killed Oscar Grant. Mehserle stated that he saw Grant trying to get something out of his pocket and that he reached for his "Taser" and instead (accidentally) drew his gun.

I believe the jury got this one right. And I know how much Oscar Grant's family thinks I'm wrong minded and probably a racist by saying it. But what did Johannes Mehserle have as a motive to murder Oscar Grant? If there was a motive, it never surfaced at trial. Why, in front of hundreds of people, would Johannes Mehserle murder Oscar Grant? If you cannot come up with a reason, if you cannot say that Mehserle planned, lay in wait or had a can you say that he murdered?

Meanwhile, poor Oakland once again gets to host riots. The rioting began shortly after the verdict came in. The businesses were fair game. In the leading picture on looters are seen carrying off merchandise from a Foot Locker store. How does this action reverse the verdict? How does this bring respect to Oscar Grant's family? How does rioting in the streets, breaking windows, burning anything handy or stealing prove that the jury got the verdict wrong? It doesn't.

Would things have been any different if the verdict had been murder instead of involuntary manslaughter? I don't think so. I think an excuse to pillage is all that some of these people want. I doubt that most of the looters and rioters know the names OR the facts of the accused, the victim or the event.

The word racism has been thrown around a lot lately. Had Johannes Mehserle been black, would there have been a trial? Had Oscar Grant been white, would there have been a trial or would there have been rioting? I doubt it. A white on black incident HAS to be scrutinized. No one can call racism unless it is white on black violence. No one can use a verdict to riot unless it is a white on black trial.

Racism is what people use to describe white people not liking people of "color". What do we call people of color that riot, destroy their own neighborhoods and shout for the death of white people? There is no word. Why? No one wants to say that ALL people are of color. White is a color. People of color shouting hate towards white people are just as racist as white people doing the same to people of color.

Yes, Johannes Mehserle killed Oscar Grant. The jury said that it was involuntary manslaughter. So be it. At last count 80 rioters had been arrested and damage was still occurring in Oakland.


Chicago guy said...

So it turns out that this Grant character had already served two terms in prison by the time he was 22. Not only that, an internet check shows that he had accumulated twelve separate court cases. This supposed great father probably had his child on welfare. Yet they make a movie about this lowlife as though he were some great martyr. It seems all the great black heros like Trayvon and Grant were just criminal thugs whose criminal careers were nipped in the bud at relatively young ages. Had it not happened and they went on to lead long lives then can you imagine the long trail of victims these creeps would have left behind them?
Why does Hollywood promote these types? There must be other blacks around who aren't career criminals and who cause no problems yet they aren't of any interest to Hollywood. I wonder what the real purpose is in pushing this sort of thing and riling blacks up.

Anonymous said...

When I saw this headline about "surfing" competition riot I thought, wow all those blonde surfer dudes rioting! I'm pretty sure that was the idea of the headlines to give that impression, typical media race manipulation. Had to go to the comments to get more of the truth, you have to weed through the liberal static but it's obvious "who" was responsible for the violence. Jerry

Radio One said...

I suppose we need to find a third Trayvon to justify the actions of all of these guys:

Radio One said...

Speaking of Trayvon, I think I saw another Wikipedia Folly recently.

Look up 'cracker' at Wikipedia. Interestingly, it says:

"Cracker, sometimes white cracker or cracka, is a derogatory term for white people,[1] especially poor rural whites in the Southern United States. In reference to a native of Florida or Georgia, however, it is sometimes used in a neutral or positive context and is sometimes used self-descriptively with pride.[2]"

How much do you want to bet that last bit of BS about Florida was added in after a certain recent court case? And then they tried to make it less obvious by adding Georgia.

With liberals, every day is like something from Animal Farm with the pigs constantly repainting new phrases or revisions to old ones on the wall as they keep twisting the facts and the rules to suit themselves.

Anonymous said...

You need to insert one of your bracketed corrections behind Serba's false statement that Grant was handcuffed on his belly when shot. This is outrageously false.

Stan D Mute